Looking for Sci fi book gift
November 29, 2016 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Hello! I need a book (possibly movie, but better a book) recommendation for a feminist leaning speculative fiction fan. What's new this year?

He likes Sci fi more than fantasy, but he likes urban fantasy.
Thoughtful stuff with interesting characters ( like The Water Knife only less rapey) and quirks
Sci fi from other cultures and pov
He already has the new River of London :(
Please give me ideas? Thank you!!
posted by Omnomnom to Media & Arts (20 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
If anthologies are fair game--and it doesn't need to be published in 2016--you might check out Sisters of the Revolution, edited by the illustrious VanderMeers.

They also published this monster a few months back.
posted by xenization at 1:10 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

My recommendations would be:

All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Andrews -- sci fi meets witches with great characters. I think the plot itself is sort of take it or leave it (at least for me), but watching the characters go through that plot is a lot of fun.

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin -- more on the fantasy side of things, but I fell in love with this even though I'm not a huge fantasy person (and there are elements of both magic and technology, so I think it's a bit of a sci fi/fantasy combo). The story revolves around people who can cause or prevent earthquakes, and has a lot to say about power and oppression.

Version Control, Dexter Palmer -- don't want to give away too much, but revolves around a woman whose husband is trying to invent a time machine, and she's starting to notice weird things around her...
posted by rainbowbrite at 1:13 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

I just started reading Everfair with my book club - I don't know if it's good yet, but the premise, an alternate steampunk history of the Congo, is a fascinating one.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:19 PM on November 29, 2016

This isn't new but I gave my speculative fiction fan/feminist husband Jeanette Winterson's The Stone Gods a couple of years ago. He loved it and it sent him on a kick of reading a bunch of sci fi/speculative fiction written by women. Jeanette Winterson isn't usually a speculative fiction author but the Stone Gods has robo sapiens, other planets, and lots of literary goodness.
posted by dysh at 2:24 PM on November 29, 2016

It's a couple years old and made a splash, so my only hesitation would be if he's read it, but Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is pretty great.
posted by quaking fajita at 2:38 PM on November 29, 2016 [15 favorites]

I'm planning to pick up a copy of Invisible Planets. It's a just-published collection of short Chinese science fiction translated by Ken Liu (he translated The Three Body Problem and wrote Dandelion Dynasty, both of which made splashes in the speculative fiction world).

If you're looking for SF from a nonwestern perspective, this is definitely gonna fit the bill - apparently it is the 'first English-language anthology of contemporary Chinese SF.' A lot of the authors have never been translated into English before.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:45 PM on November 29, 2016

Definitely The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers! One of my favorite books I've read this year. Also seconding either of N.K. Jemisin's series, although they do tend more towards fantasy than sci-fi. If he hasn't checked out Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel, that's an excellent recent speculative fiction novel.

Has he read Octavia Butler, specifically the Lilith's Brood trilogy? If not, he should definitely read them.
posted by Illuminated Clocks at 3:23 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Seconding Version Control (speculative, female character) and Ancillary Justice (feminist although not really speculative). Also recommend Nekropolis by Maureen F McHugh which isn't new, but I only discovered it recently.
posted by Joh at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2016

Seconding Ancillary Justice and its two sequels! She does some amazing multiple-point-of-view storytelling feats, as well as glittering world-building.

Also fantastic is City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. It's fantasy, not sci-fi, set in a newly industrializing post-colonial society.
posted by heatherlogan at 3:33 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

How about The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo? Finnish SF about a woman living in a repressive dystopia and trying to hide her true identity. And her secret stash of banned chilli peppers.
posted by penguinliz at 3:45 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nisi Shawl's Everfair was so good I rationed a chapter a day to make it last.

Would an SF graphic novel be welcome? If so, O Human Star v 1 is available in print and PDF, and v 2 is coming out shortly. Blue Dellaquanti's story includes time travel, AI, lovely character building, neat drawing, and all sorts of takes on gender.
posted by Jesse the K at 4:15 PM on November 29, 2016

Definitely NK Jemisin's Broken Earth series - The Obelisk Gate (book 2) came out this fall, and the first book, The Fifth Season was the Hugo Award for best novel this year!
posted by firei at 4:56 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Rosemary Kirstein's The Steerswoman series which is a blend of what seems to be magic and what seems to be science and how to tell them apart, all set on a non-earth planet. Her world-building is unparalleled. The link I've posted is to her site with blurbs about each of the four books, with reviews by such as Jo Walton, Suzy Mckee Charnas, and physicist Chad Orziel, and links to purchase. She's working on #5 in the series and all her fans are patiently waiting.
posted by MovableBookLady at 6:51 PM on November 29, 2016 [2 favorites]

Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence! Urban fantasy, but basically about how a world packed with gods deals with a (very diverse!) humanity that is now advanced enough to create infrastructure, legal systems, capitalism, gentrification, etc. There are 5 books and you can start with any of them, but I would suggest going with Last First Snow.
posted by greenland at 7:40 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ancillary Justice and its sequels and Jemisin's Fifth Season are the two that spring immediately to mind. Very different, absolutely amazing, and they do such interesting things with gender.
posted by purenitrous at 8:14 PM on November 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nnedi Okorafor has many awesome books, some fantasy and some science fiction.
posted by azalea_chant at 11:34 PM on November 29, 2016

Nthing the recommendation for Ann Leckie's Ancillary Justice trilogy. Just the best.
posted by janet lynn at 9:09 AM on November 30, 2016

Absolutely Becky Chambers - The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet was superb, and this year saw the publication of the next in the same universe, A Closed and Common Orbit.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:14 AM on December 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

Not new, but have they read Sheri Tepper?
posted by timepiece at 8:17 AM on December 8, 2016

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